599. Waiting (VIII)
The Supreme Court seems to be set to reverse Roe versus Wade. I have noticed that several women around me have started to make references to birth control and abortion, perhaps an indication that women do not even understand that there are such things as different countries—if Roe is overturned then abortion will become illegal in Britain, so they think (not that to overturn Roe bans abortion, it simply permits individual states to ban it—yet this nuance is lost in the debate). Perhaps these women are unconsciously wise though, since the West is led by America and we basically copy everything the Americans do—even down to having a Supreme Court and painting our rescue helicopters US Coastguard red and white—then we will tighten abortion access too.
If Roe is in fact overturned, I think it marks another slide towards a civil war in America. The country has already had two elections where neither side accepted the result, the outcome being either down to Russia or the deep state—and then it had its own “Bleeding Kansas II” in 2020, the George Floyd riots. Strauss and Howe predicted in The Fourth Turning that an event similar to the Second World War or the Civil War would hit America in the 2020-2025 period, with the climax being 2025. Since they mentioned plague as a possible “turning point” that event might have been Covid-19 and the Trump presidency, but to me those events look more like a prelude.
Two elections have been unrecognised, and now the Supreme Court is doubted by both sides—previously, only conservatives doubted the Court; now liberals, finally getting a taste of their own medicine after years of judicial activism, will be disillusioned. Yet nobody is more angry than someone who has had power swiped from under them; besides, the liberals responded to Trump’s conservative appointments with their own frivolous candidate, chosen because she is a black woman—a decision so blatant that it merely marks another step to discredit the Supreme Court.
Conservatives might delude themselves that they will now have the whip hand in the judiciary, and use it as liberals did for years to drive through what amounts to legislation over the heads of state legislatures—yet it will not work that way, not least because the liberals counted on wider networks to support them in their judicial endeavours; networks that can frustrate a conservative judiciary. If Roe is overturned, I would see it as being analogous to the Dred Scott case—a pro-slavery judgement in the run up to the Civil War that looked like a win for reactionaries; yet Dred Scott was followed by Kansas’s pro-slavery constitution being frustrated at the Federal level and then…Harper’s Ferry. In other words, if Roe is overturned I expect the tempo of progressive activism to increase up to John Brown levels, not reconcile itself to a conservative judiciary: conservatives naturally reconcile themselves, liberals do not—hence they get their way.
Incidentally, the Supreme Court has a Catholic majority; and that matters. It shows that groups with higher ethnocentricity (Irish, Italians) push out more individualistic people—and you can “acquire” this ethnocentricity through conversion to Catholicism. The Catholic justices have a neat Schelling point, abortion, to coordinate around. So the decision will be driven, essentially, not by Anglo-Prot ideas about states’ rights but by Catholic concern about abortion—and from a group perspective Catholics will be higher status in America the day Roe is overturned, progressives will be lower status; Catholic reproductive status will rise. You might expect the Court to be dominated by Jews, since Jews are excellent lawyers and also ethnocentric; yet as a group strategy Catholicism defeats Judaism, in the legal profession anyway, and this is why Catholicism is often attacked by Jewish-dominated media outlets; it frustrates Jewish advancement, whereas Protestantism does not. However, the fact that an Anglo-Prot country’s institutions are now run by various ethnic outsiders merely shows that the country is broken and institutionally fragmented.